Posts Tagged ‘care’

There’s been a lot said lately about how we’re talking about Boston and not so much about Iraq and Afghanistan. We’re wondering if one life is worth more than another in our current media cycle. But what’s behind our arguably disproportionate attention to the Boston bombings? Are we just suffering from an incapacity to care for more than our own?

There’s a conversation we’ve been trying to have about racism in the reporting of the Boston bombings. It’s the same conversation we try to have every time there’s a tragedy in the West that measured globally, barely tips the Richter scale of international disaster. We get started with this conversation, as Virginia Trioli recently tried to do, but it either gets brutally cut down or prematurely cut short.  I think we’re having trouble following it through because the truth of why we seem to care more about Boston than about Kabul and Ramullah may just be too hard for us to swallow.

If we look at some of the explanations for the disproportionate attention to the Boston bombings in comparison to those in Iraq and Afghanistan, none of them seem to cut the ideological mustard.

First, we have the tried and tested we take care of our own theory, brought to us most recently by the Boss and championed by the President of the United States. This is the assumption that the suffering of people like us and close to us is going to matter more than the far away tragedies afflicting our distant cousins.

There’s a lot of support for this theory. Evolutionary psychologists like it. They think it’s been adaptive for us to worry more about bad things that are likely to happen to us than bad things that are not. They also believe that most of us suffer from something they call “in-group bias” which means that we think our mates are better, smarter, faster and more important than other people, despite evidence to the contrary.

you can read the rest of this article at newmatilda

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